It started with a single post to Virginia Delegate Ryan McDougle's facebook wall. Now, it's become a trend that's sweeping the nation, like Silly Bandz or Brazilian waxes, and there's no sign of it letting up: women are flooding the Facebook walls of politicians who have attempted to legislate their way into women's health issues with graphically detailed descriptions of their genital maladies. Think period problems, concerns about strange bumps, requests for fertility advice, pregnancy scares, and more. Let's take a quick tour of which politicians have been besieged by menstruating constituents... and who has been spared.
The latest high profile victim of the Reign in Blood has been former Presidential candidate and current Texas Governor Rick Perry, who just last week took a political stand that led to his state's entire $36 billion women's health program being shut down. Perry, you see, was opposed to the Federal government dictating that a portion of the funds given to the program go to services provided by Planned Parenthood, and the state's Republican-led legislature passed a law barring the family planning organization from receiving funds. Even though Planned Parenthood of Texas was split into two completely separate corporations, one of which provides abortion services and the other of which provides family planning and sexual health services (the latter of which was the sole recipient of funds for the Women's Health Program), legislators wielding a puzzling vendetta against the low-cost health care provider Took a Stand. As a result, the state with the largest number of uninsured women in the nation with billions of federal dollars designed to help poor women.
People are mad about this, and understandably so. Some women are so angry that they've taken to the Rick Perry for President facebook page to give the self-appointed women's health expert an outpouring he'll never forget. Among the TMI-laced posts:
I'm at work and am experiencing the most uncomfortable itch you know where. I know I'm being punished for having a job and not being a wife and mother, but will you still take care of me? I'd like to stop by during my lunch hour.
Dr. Rick Perry, I had thyroid cancer and had to take a radioactive iodine pill back in August. They told me I would probably have irregular periods for a while, but I should go back to normal after 6 months or so. I'm really worried because I can feel the cramps like I'm going to get my period, but nothing has come out for a couple of months. I haven't had sex in a really long time either, so I know I couldn't be pregnant because we used a condom and I'm on birth control (originally prescribe to help control my PCOS symptoms of irregular periods.) Am I ever going to have a regular period again? Is it bad for those clots to not come out for so long? I'm worried because I want to have a baby some day when I get married, but I'm not ready for that yet. I want to be established financial with my husband before we have kids so that we can provide proper care. What do you think? Should I be worried about my period? It's really scary and I'm starting to hurt really bad sometimes.... =/
So far, no comment from Dr. Governor Perry. But millions of women eagerly await his expert diagnoses!
Not to be outdone, women have unleashed a tampon avalanche on the pages of Kansas Governor Sam Brownback as well. Kansas is currently on the cusp of passing a law that would, among other things (that rhyme with mandatory schmans schmaginal probe!), threaten the University of Kansas Medical School's OBGYN residency program's accreditation in jeopardy by barring the doctors employed there from teaching abortion procedures. And women there have vagina problems as well! One concerned Kansan wrote,
How can I get a commemorative edition of the Sam Brownback transvaginal probe? Can I call your office at (785) 296-3232?
Governor, my boyfriend and I seem to be having some really serious issues. He wants a vasectomy (and I know that's okay with you since you haven't mentioned it as a point of contention in any of your speeches), but I'm concerned about how this will affect his future unborn children. Does a man have the right to decide whether or not he wants to have children? I know you think women don't, but I just wanted to check (I get so confused with all these politics as a woman, you see!) I am also having major problems with my period lately and thought I should let you know. I don't want you to think that your wonderful concern is falling on deaf ears! As you can see, so many women are counting on you and your knowledge of female parts! Please don't disappoint us!
But not every four-star general in the War on Ladyparts has been barraged with Facebook users eager for OBGYN expertise. Pennsylvania governor Tom Corbett, who helpfully suggested that women who don't want to look at their pre-abortion ultrasound should "just close their eyes," has been spared. California Republican Darrell Issa, who many of you may remember from that awful panel where a bunch of religious dudes explained why giving women birth control was hurting their feelings, has a page that's relatively unblemished. Women's health/God expert Rick Santorum's facebook wall is filled with mostly messages of support or disagreement, and very few attempted online medical consultations. And Senator Roy Blunt, father of the Blunt Amendment, which would have allowed any employer or insurance provider to refuse to cover any medical expense they deemed morally objectionable, has been left untouched and unbloodied.
While the practice of telling politicians like Rick Perry and Sam Brownback all about your soaked super plus tampons is sort of funny in that making jerks mad is funny, whether or not it really makes a difference in their itty bitty worldviews is up for debate. I want to believe that men like Dave Albo, who can't even bring themselves to say the word "vagina" aloud in public, could learn something about how women's anatomy works from this embarrassment. Or that Arizona's Debbie Lesko, who has repeated the Fox Newsian myth that there's only one kind of birth control pill, and it's available for $9 at Wal-Mart, and it works for literally everybody, will one day understand that the world of birth control is vast, varied, and not under her jurisdiction. But will drowning anti-lady politicians' social media presences in uterine updates demonstrate to legislators that it's time they change their ways?